The Houston Astros have their man, hiring bench coach Joe Espada to be their manager following the retirement of Dusty Baker. Houston had rumored interest in Craig Counsell before he took his talents to Chicago, thus making Espada the most logical candidate at this point in the offseason.
Now that the managerial vacancy is settled, the Astros need to focus on their future. Frankly, they have a number of tough choices to make, starting in free agency. Houston wasn't all that active at the GM meetings, instead lingering in the background and dealing with their obvious internal need.
Espada was a popular choice among players, who view him as an extension of Baker and previously AJ Hinch. Whatever devil magic has been working for Houston since 2018 ought to continue under Espada.
Houston Astros need to extend Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman, and soon
Jose Altuve's contract is up after the 2024 season. While he's getting up there in age, he remains a key cog to this Astros lineup. Houston has made it their top priority to extend Altuve this winter, and have reached out to agent Scott Boras about a new deal, which is a productive star. Houston has the reputation of an organization which takes care of their own. Extending Altuve, who has been around since the beginning, will only add to that perception.
“We’re going to look into talking to both of them, particularly this offseason, maybe all the way up until spring training,” Dana Brown said. “Once the season starts, we really don’t want to get too much into it, unless there’s some initiative from them during the season. But I think it’s something that we are going to look at closely this offseason.”
Bregman's contract also keeps him in Houston through next season. However, the Astros have the payroll to make them both 'Astros for life' which Brown claims is the ultimate goal.